Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Statistically, who needs Green-Beckham?
By Sharon Katz
National Signing Day is a day away, and the nation’s top wide receiver recruit remains unsigned. Dorial Green-Beckham will announce his intentions at 10:15 A.M. ET on Wednesday, with many of the nation’s top programs looking on.
Green-Beckham has been described as a hybrid of Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones. At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, he possesses the size and speed to be a significant deep threat and formidable red-zone target.
Any program in the nation would be happy to land Green-Beckham, but he has narrowed his list to five schools -- Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Alabama and Oklahoma –- all of which have significant holes at wide receiver.
So the question becomes, who needs Dorial Green-Beckham most?
Alabama has stocked up on wide receiver recruits in its 2012 class with five 4-star or 5-star recruits listed as ATH/WR. The Tide could use all of the help that they can get after losing their top four pass catchers from 2011. Most importantly, Alabama needs to find a top wide receiver to fill the void left by Julio Jones and Marquis Maze leaving in consecutive years.
Jones and Maze were targeted on almost half of Alabama’s passes thrown 20 yards or more in the air since the start of 2010, resulting in 15 receptions and five touchdowns. Green-Beckham’s downfield prowess would benefit AJ McCarron who improved his deep passing in the second half of last season.
Arkansas is the predicted landing spot for Green-Beckham by all seven ESPN experts polled. If he chooses to sign with the Razorbacks, Green-Beckham would fill one of the greatest wide receiver voids in the nation.
Arkansas is losing three of its top four wide receivers, including the school’s top two players in career receptions, Jarius Wright and Joe Adams. Wright and Adams combined for more receiving yards (1,769) than any other set of receivers in the SEC last season.
In fact, no SEC team had three wide receivers combine for more yards, receptions and touchdowns than Wright and Adams.
Missouri needs a second wide-receiver option behind T.J. Moe next season with TE Michael Egnew and WR Wes Kemp graduating. Moe has the second-most receiving yards in the Big 12 since the start of 2010 among returning players, but he is not known for his deep-threat ability.
Of his 146 receptions in the past two seasons, only 13 have gone for 25 or more yards. Green-Beckham’s downfield speed would lead to more big plays for the Tigers and open up underneath routes for Moe and others.
Oklahoma must replace FBS all-time leader in receptions, Ryan Broyles. Broyles was Oklahoma’s top target downfield, in the red zone, on third down and when opponents brought the blitz over the last two years.
Landry Jones struggled after Broyles’ injury in 2011, and despite landing three 4-star wide receiver recruits, a talent like Green-Beckham could fill the void left by Broyles.
Broyles had some of the strongest hands in college football, dropping just two passes in 417 pass attempts since the start of 2009.
According to scouts, Green-Beckham also has strong hands and the ability to snatch balls in traffic, which will be valuable in an Oklahoma offense that throws a lot of quick slants. Oklahoma has focused on replacing Broyles with three 4-star recruits committed for next season, but the addition of Green-Beckham will have an immediate impact on a team with national title hopes.
Texas could use Green-Beckham’s size in the red zone. The Longhorns completed just 32 percent of their passes with three touchdowns and two interceptions in the red zone during conference play last season, which was the worst completion percentage by any Big 12 team in the last five seasons.
When throwing into the end zone, Texas completed just 5-of-17 passes with two interceptions. Beckham’s 6’6” size and leaping ability would give Texas a target to drastically improve its red-zone passing offense.